The George Stubbs oil paintings, ‘The Kongouro From New Holland (The Kangaroo)’ and ‘Portrait of a Large Dog (The Dingo)’, will set buyers back £5.5 million reports the Huffington Post.

The works were first shown in 1773 at the Royal Academy, and are thought to have been commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks following his part in Captain James Cook’s first voyage of discovery to the Pacific.

Stubbs was unable to paint the creatures from life so worked from hearing accounts of the animals, and in the case of the kangaroo, from sketches and after inflating the preserved skin.

Committee chairman Lord Inglewood said: “It would be a terrible shame if the UK were to lose these extraordinary paintings to an overseas buyer. They were the British public’s first introduction to these exotic animals from the Australasian New World which was opening up at that time.”

The export bar remains in place until 5 August, and can be extended until 5 November.

Image via Getty